Goodbye 2019

2019 began with some challenges. Treatment for a second cancer diagnosis loomed on the horizon.  Cancer is a reminder of how short life is and how we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. 

Photography has become a passion. When I look through the viewfinder of the camera, I am transported to a different world.  The worries of the day disappear as I focus on capturing something special. Not only do I enjoy capturing the beauty that I see through the lens, but photography is my way to preserve my travel memories of the extraordinary places I have been blessed to be able to visit. 

“To Travel is to Live” – Hans Christian Andersen

Because of the “C-diagnosis”, we entered 2019 with no photography adventures on the calendar. Jeff usually panics when this happens, but I find that if we keep our options open, we are pleasantly surprised by the opportunities that appear. 

Enjoy a few previously unseen photos

In January we escaped the medical world and enjoyed a quick trip to Death Valley National Park and Valley of Fire State Park. 

It took multiple visits to Death Valley to finally locate the infamous “mud flats”
A side project, exploring abstract patterns, this one in the rocks at Valley of Fire State Park

As I recovered from treatment, we invested our time in a new direction. We brought our photography to print in a new way by creating books.

Jeff wrote one on “Southeast Asia”, capturing the mood and feeling behind each of his favorite photos.  Meanwhile I created one of just photos on my favorite topic of “Reflections”. Jeff then went on to publish his favorite photos from the southwest in “Western Landscapes”. I shifted gears and published one in honor of my father and his photography, “The Best of Blue Heron” studios. 

Soon after, the photography trips began falling into place. In August, we spent two weeks in Mammoth Lakes area of California capturing the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mono Lake and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

In September we returned to Iceland for over two weeks of amazing photography, checking “northern lights” off our bucket list.

Northern Lights over Glacier Lagoon
Epic “Estrahorn”
My favorite location, “Diamond Beach”

In October we won the lottery for the Wave and built our visit into a 12 day trip through southern Utah including Bryce Canyon National Park, Escalante National Monument, Capital Reef National Park and Monument Valley.

A “Boneyard” specimen – a short hike from the Wave
A trek down Willis Creek: a wet walk through a beautiful slot canyon. Escalante National Monument, Utah.
Just couldn’t get enough of the yellow Cottonwoods, Burr Trail, Utah
The magnificent red walled canyon of the Burr Trail, Utah

In December we returned to Bosque del Apache to capture migrating Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese, then to White Sands National Park to capture the iconic Soaptree Yucca on the white sand. 

Sandhill Cranes queued for landing, Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge
Morning light breaking through the fog, White Sands NP

We ended the year with good news, the latest test showed no signs of cancer.  We now have a six month reprieve, so planning for 2020 has begun. 

Hello 2020

Our first project is not travel related. Instead, our focus is to revamp our website.  Look for additional content in the form of resources and tips for photography and travel as well as a revamping of page content and the website structure. Our main goal is to present better looking images in our posts and in our galleries. 

A second project is to transform all of our website posts into a hardcopy book. It will be a labor of love considering there are over 300 posts!

In March we shoot for the stars. We’ll be back to Arches National Park and Canyonlands for an Astrophotography workshop. In August, we have our big trip of the year to Namibia (southwestern Africa).  We hope to photograph animals on safari, flamingos in Walvis Bay, sand dunes, Quiver trees, Camel Thorn Trees in Sossusvlei, ghost towns (Kolmanskop) and native tribes.  

Also in the planning stages is a return trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Who knows what else the year may bring. 

We feel blessed that we are able to enjoy our retirement by traveling. We love sharing our adventures with you. We always appreciate your comments and emails. Thank you so much for traveling with us. We hope that that the New Year sees you safe and healthy and perhaps, in Arizona for a visit.

With heartfelt gratitude, Kathryn and Jeff.

Aldeyjarfoss, Iceland